Kate Gilbert, '13"The kind of work you can do as a pro bono volunteer is the reason most of us came to law school: the work is tremendously gratifying. I've been pleasantly surprised by the practical skills and confidence I've gained through pro bono projects. One project I enjoyed participating in for all three years of law school was the Family Law Project, where I got to help survivors of domestic violence with various aspects of family law. I'm excited to be clerking for the next two years before returning to the public interest arena."
Caitlin Howitt, '13"I worked on various pro bono projects during my time at Michigan Law, including the Family Law Project, the Public Benefits Advocacy Project, and an evidentiary research project for the Humane Society of Huron Valley. Pro bono was an important part of my law school experience because it allowed me the opportunity to work with clients and practice legal skills in a supportive environment. After graduating, I joined the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corps as a Staff Judge Advocate, where I hope to work on criminal and family law issues."
Jessica Kraft, 2L, LAWBreaks (Freedom House)"The most rewarding aspect of this experience was hearing the people recount their stories. They were from some of the most devastated areas in the world and had suffered terrible persecution and torture. They struggled to come to this country, and came to Freedom House when they arrived because it is essentially the only place like it in the country. Hearing the impact that Freedom House made on the clients' lives made me want to do pro bono work more. The impact one particular attorney made on these people's lives was simply incredible."
Elise Neveau, '12, Food Stamp Advocacy Project"The Food Stamp Advocacy Project is great. It gave me the opportunity to get into the community and help out. I didn't know anything about food stamps before signing up, but my supervisor guided me through things on the first day. I got to interact with clients one-on-one and provide application assistance on site. After spending so much of my time in law school with my nose buried in books, I really enjoyed getting out in the community."
Allison Nichols, '13"I am serving as a Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Graduate Fellow at the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian before joining the Chicago office of Schiff Hardin, LLP as an associate. During my time at Michigan, I volunteered with Future Advocates in Training (FAIT), the Family Law Project, the Public International Law and Policy Group, and the Human Trafficking Database. Pro bono work was a meaningful part of my law school experience, and I plan to continue my commitment to public service in my professional practice."
Daniella Schmidt, '13"After graduating in May, I headed to New York City to work on as many of the pro bono projects that Paul, Weiss has to offer! Over the course of my law school career I have had the opportunity to work with pro bono attorneys on issues such as fair housing, asylum, trafficking, transgender rights, Defense of Marriage Act, and criminal appeals. At school, I spent most of my pro bono hours working with Future Advocates in Training (FAIT)."
Kevan Ventura, '12, Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project"This project gives you direct interaction with clients who need help. I can't say how positive the experience is to work through their issues toward a goal. In this project, you'll be digging through deposition transcripts and work contracts trying to get a sense of the terms of employment and the existing conditions when your client was terminated. It was part detective work, part advocacy, and all fun."
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